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on a Stick
Where Leaders Are Made

May 2017
The gregarious and cogent Amy Cyr

Meet Amy Cyr

by John Barrett

As our resident club secretary, Amy has kept track of what has
been going on in our club. Her tireless efforts as an officer are
much appreciated. In order to better understand this dedicated
club member, we asked her ten probing questions.
How and why did you get into Toastmasters?
I’ve always hated public speaking. Most of the times when I’ve
had to do public speaking for work, I did a “passable” job. Then, I
spoke at a conference a year ago last November, and did an
absolutely terrible job because, despite having prepared
extensively, I was very nervous. I decided that I couldn’t ignore
what I disliked doing any longer, and joined Toastmasters to
improve my skills and become more comfortable with public
Explain what you do when you are not at Toastmasters.
I enjoy my work in program evaluation, and spend a lot of time
focusing on work. You could find me at the Minnesota Zen
Meditation Center, or co-leading a new political support and
action group through our Zen Center, or you may find me doing
yard planning with Jim and working on our yard or house.
Tell us about your favorite hobby.
My favorite hobby is curling up with a good book, a blanket, and
a cup of tea or hot cocoa. I’m currently on book 14 (of 14) of a
fantasy series called the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and
Brandon Sanderson.
Talk us through your ideal vacation.
My ideal vacation would be in nature, but I have a tie for two,
opposite types of best vacation. One is going backpacking in the
wilderness — completely unplugged. The other is staying in a
quiet remote cabin in the woods, but with modern comforts.

Give us an example of a public speaking/leadership
experience that went wrong.
When I presented at the conference I noted in question 1, I
practiced my speech so much the morning of my
presentation that I wore out my voice. Then, when I got to
the presentation, there was a microphone that amplified the
way my voice was worn out, and it made me sound very
shaky and nervous. Hearing my voice like that made me as
nervous as I sounded, and it was a downward cycle from
How has Toastmasters improved your private or
professional life? Toastmasters has helped me better
understand and practice basics of speaking like vocal variety
and gestures. It has been wonderful to receive all the
constructive and positive feedback that I have received
during meetings. And simply forcing myself to get up and
speak over and over, whether an actual speech or a simple
meeting role, has helped make it easier for me to speak in
public. This past winter I gave a 30-minute presentation for
work, and it went extremely well. I still did not enjoy the
public speaking and couldn’t wait for it to be over, but it
went well, and I don’t think the audience knew how much I
did not want to be there.
If we could see the ideal playlist on your iPod, what groups
or songs would we see at the top of the list? Jazz,
traditional music (including Celtic, Turkish, Arab, and
Balkan), Indian classical music, Western classical early music
(Medieval and Renaissance) and any type of modernized folk
music. There’s a great Swedish band called Vaasen that has
a wonderful modern folk sound.
(Continued on page 2)


before he could ever harvest it.”)
Even though your time is short,
engage the audience by using
questions that cause them to
answer, either to themselves or
out loud. (“How many of you have
a garden?” )
8. Do not go further into the topic
than your main point...that second
area would be a follow-up
question, but is not what you will
want to cover in your short time.
(“I would love to explain to you all
of the many variations of snow
peas that will thrive and flourish in
9. Tittlemeyer suggests that you try
using a short, humorous anecdote,
if appropriate, to get the people’s
attention right before you close.
(“God made rainy days so that
housework done.”)
10. Watch your time! You do not need
to fill every last second of time
with your golden voice. Say what
you need to say and be done.

Triumphant Table Topics
by Mike Raffone
The following nuggets are taken from Tobias
Tittlemeyer’s Top Ten Table Topic Tips. These
hints apply to speaking in real life as well as
within the club setting.
1. Take a breath and give yourself the time
to think before you speak.
2. Prepare ahead of time by having a list of
fun, interesting stories that you can use
in table topics. Often, when pressed,
people can scarcely remember their
name, let alone an interesting answer to
the question at hand. Having a onesentence description of your fun stories
will serve you well when you are called
upon to speak.
3. Think of the one, most important point
you want to make. There are many
points you could make, but focus!
4. Take a sentence to restate the question.
This buys you time to think a little bit
more before speaking. (“What is my
favorite hobby? It would have to be
5. Be sure to give your main point some
life! Make it interesting by being more
descriptive. (“I have a lush, 20’ x 20’
garden on the back of our house, with a
green, rabbit-proof fence around it.)
6. Reinforce your main point with some
interesting background information or
history. (“My father was a gardener, but
the rabbits and raccoons got to the food

Help Produce a Newsletter
The editor welcomes others to submit
articles, which fulfill your Competent
Leader Project 6 requirement.

Cogent adjective: koh-juhnt
1 Convincing or believable
by virtue of forcible, clear, or incisive
presentation; telling
The President made a cogent argument for the need for a National
Parks System.

(Continued from page 1)
Explain the process you go through
when preparing a speech.
I decide on a topic, outline the general
and specific purposes. Then I’ll outline
my main points. I write out what I plan
to say, time it, adjust to the time limit,
and practice it until I know it. Then I’ll
pare back my notes to an outline or
speaking notes. My goal is to
eventually work straight from an
outline without planning out what I’ll
say so extensively.
Who are the leaders or speakers that
you idolize or look up to?
I aspire to be able to speak as fluently
and confidently as the great speakers
in our club! Thanks for the role
modeling, folks!
If you could change something about
our club, what would you change and
why? We would video record our
meetings to be able to learn from
watching them.

TOASTMASTERS INTERNATIONAL MISSION: We empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders!




Nancy Brinker (born Dec. 6, 1946)
Founder of Susan G. Komen for the
Cure, named after her sister, who died
from breast cancer. Brinker became
the U.S. Ambassador to Hungary from
2001 to 2003. This Toastmaster is also
the author of the New York Times bestselling book, Promise Me - How a Sister's Love Launched
the Global Movement
to End Breast Cancer.
She is married to
Norman Brinker, the
founder of Steak and
Ale, Bennigan’s, and

After years of urging from family, a
wise old lady had a hearing-aid fitted,
hidden under her hair.

Toastmaster on a Stick Toastmasters
(TOAST) meets at the Minnetronix
headquarters, 1645 Energy Park Drive,
from 5 to 6:15 p.m. on Tuesdays.

A week later, she returned to the doctor for her check-up.
"It's absolutely wonderful - I can hear
everything now," she reported very
happily to the doctor.
"And is your family pleased, too?"
asked the doctor.
"Oh, I haven't told them yet," said the
old lady. "And I've changed my will
twice already!"
Remember to speak as if everyone
were listening. Speak kindly, for
words have great weight.

Everyone is welcome!
for more information about our club.

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